Bob Massie, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, spoke at Tufts on Tuesday night at an event co-sponsored by Tufts Democrats and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.
The event, held in the Terrace Room, was the third and final installment in the Tufts Democrats’ three-part 2018 Gubernatorial Series co-sponsored by Tisch College.
The series has already brought Democratic candidates Setti Warren and Jay Gonzalez to Tufts this semester.
After a brief introduction by Jaya Khetarpal, the political director for Tufts Democrats, Massie began his remarks with a personal parable relating his childhood experiences of exclusion due to disability and transitioned to the broader themes of exclusion and oppression, which formed the backbone of his talk.
Massie argued that issues of sustainable community building and social justice can be viewed through an economic lens.
Massie also highlighted issues including affordable housing, public transportation, renewable energy initiatives and workers’ rights in a world of increasing automation.
Early in his remarks, Massie prompted the audience of about 18 with two questions. He asked them what they wanted the world to be in 20 years, and what they wanted themselves to be in 20 years.
Answers to the first question included “just,” “empathetic” and “prosperous for all people.”
Answers to the second question included “happy,” “mature” and “satisfied [with] 20 years of Democratic rule.”
Massie mentioned his advocacy for improvements to Massachusetts public transit.
“The economic vitality of the whole state depends on people being able to move around, not necessarily with cars,” Massie said.
Massie also critiqued current Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker for his inaction on expanding transportation.
“The Chinese have managed to build 12,000 miles of high-speed rail in the last 15 years, and the United States has zero. This governor is not doing anything about it,” Massie said.
He also spoke about automation and the future of work, weighing the danger of increasing job loss due to automation.
“One of the first things I would do is appoint a commission on the future of work, in order to assess these [automation] problems immediately. Because if you think that this will remain a stable democracy as millions and millions of people who already feel that the system is rigged against them and voted for Trump once will not react [to increasing job loss in the future] with fear and grief and anger, you’re wrong,” Massie said.
Misha Linnehan, a senior and the president of Tufts Democrats, moderated a question-and-answer session at the end of the talk.
When asked how he would react to allegations that the Massie campaign is behind its competitors in terms of organization, fundraising and supporters, Massie’s campaign manager, Mike McGinn, interjected.
“We’ve swept Northampton, Amherst [and] Lexington. We’re expecting to do fine in Concord [and] Somerville this weekend. In delegate count, we’re beating at least one of our opponents and trailing the other,” McGinn said. “In dollars per delegate, I think we’re beating everybody,” he added, eliciting laughter from the audience.
In an interview with the Daily, Massie explained why he accepted the speaking engagement at Tufts.
“Young people could have much more impact than they realize,” Massie said. “I’m hoping that young people will feel inspired, not just by me and my campaign by itself, but by the idea that there are opportunities to have deep change. In fact, they can have a decisive impact.”
Attendance at the Massie event was around 18 people, not counting press and Massie’s staff.
Khetarpal, a junior, said the speaker series was designed to give students a sense of clarity on each of the candidates and their platforms.
“For people who are Massachusetts voters, we’re hoping that by attending these events, we can give them greater clarity on who they might want to vote for. For those who aren’t Massachusetts voters, but who are interested in local or state politics, we’re hoping to give them a better idea of how these campaigns are run,” Khetarpal said.